• August 9, 2020

CHIEF'S APPRAISAL: Your property tax value and economic uncertainty - Odessa American: Business

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CHIEF'S APPRAISAL: Your property tax value and economic uncertainty

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Posted: Sunday, April 5, 2020 5:00 am

There are a couple of quotes that have repeatedly come to mind over the last few weeks, “One day posterity will remember these strange times …” by Yevgeny Yevtushenko and Plato’s “Strange times are these in which we live …” While the quotes in their entirety are not applicable, these are strange times indeed.

ECAD began 2020 with the motto, “ serving our community with clear vision and unified purpose.” We are still unified in our purpose, but clear vision becomes more difficult during times of falling oil prices, county-wide company cutbacks, and the economic uncertainty caused by COVID-19. I have seen posts this week speculating how ECAD will handle appraisal values in our current economic situation. It is a good question, and I’m sure more than one taxpayer in Ector County is asking the question.

Appraisal district valuations are governed by the Texas Property Tax Code, The Appraisal Foundation’s “Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practices,” manuals published by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, and Comptroller Rules. Appraisers must register with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, receive certification as a registered professional appraiser, and maintain that certification with continuing education. Courses are offered by the Appraisal Institute, the International Association of Assessing Officers, the Texas Association of Appraisal Districts, and the Texas Association of Assessing Officers.

The Texas Property Tax Code mandates that all properties be appraised at market value as of Jan. 1. We are still analyzing sales and rental data, but market studies through February indicate residential increases of 4 percent to 6 percent over last year. The Property Tax Assistance Division of the Texas Comptroller makes the same analyses based on their independent research and surveys of sales and rental information. PTAD then compares ECAD values to their appraisal value determinations. If ECAD’s values fail to meet a confidence level of 95 percent to 105 percent of the Comptroller’s values, ECISD does not receive local value and loses state funding.

Only the governor can allow a waiver of these mandates in the midst of economic issues linked to COVID-19. Other issues, related to mailing appraisal notices, informal meetings with taxpayers, and value protests, must also be addressed if “shelter in place,” “stay home, stay safe,” or other quarantine restrictions are still in effect. Appraisal Notices mailings could be later than normal, but you should still receive yours in April. Informal meetings between taxpayers and appraisal district appraisers could be handled by phone or email. Appraisal Review Boards could hold telephone or video hearings. Those conversations are ongoing as local and state agencies work through the concerns.

In addition to problems with increasing 2020 values based on 2019 sales and leases, your taxable value could still increase even if the market value remains the same as 2019. If the market value of your residential homestead property increased by more than 10 percent in previous years, you could still see the effects of the homestead cap.

We continue to monitor possible appraisal policy changes related to disaster and will be prepared to implement them. Our office is closed to the public, but we are available. Visit our website at www.ectorcad.org and check our homepage for current appraisal district news. Contact us by phone at 432-332-6834 and if you call and can’t get through, please leave a message and we will return your call. You can also email us at ector@ectorcad.org.

There are many new issues to deal with related to the pandemic, including the appraisal process. One final quote is applicable and that is Sam Houston’s “Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may.” Whatever we call it, Coronavirus, COVID-19, or SARS-CoV-2, we can beat it. Protect yourself and others. The employees at ECAD pray for health and safety for you and our community.

Odessa, TX

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